Customer loyalty isn’t what it used to be. Gone are the days when points programs or even product quality were enough to attract and keep a customer. In a marketplace where all the rules are changing, digital managers have a critical role in earning the business of all customers—potential and existing—with a consistent, high-quality customer experience (CX).
CX investment is well returned. Accenture predicts that a digital wave is underway that could bring a cumulative $2.95 trillion in value to the retail industry by 2025—all powered by digital connections to consumers. Brands have an incredible opportunity to level up their CX approach and earn more market share.
Already, leading companies are getting on board with the experience-driven customer journey. According to one 2020 Digital Marketing Trends Report, customer experience ranked number one as the most exciting business opportunity today.
But what does CX mean? How can businesses ensure that all stages of the customer journey are united by a thread of outstanding experience?
What does modern Customer Experience mean?
CX is the sum of a person’s interactions with a brand, from their first impression to their most recent contact. This includes every attribute – convenience, quality, attitude, and more.
Many interactions now happen digitally. This vastly increases the channels, devices, and platforms upon which customers can interact with the brand, as well as how often. In a digital world where customers have many ways to engage, there are more opportunities to get CX right. Or to get it really wrong.
A global CX study by Oracle found that rising customer expectations (59%) and the impact of social media on customers’ ability to broadcast good and bad experiences (37%) are the top two drivers for organisations’ focus on customer experience. Research shows that it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. That alone could be reason enough to focus on CX. But there’s even more compelling data to demonstrate why a business should invest in CX for all customers.
Why is Customer Experience so important?
According to research by Forrester, how an experience makes customers feel has a bigger influence on their brand loyalty than the ease or effectiveness of the experience.
And a survey conducted by PwC makes an incredibly strong case for a laser focus on CX:
- 73% of people point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions
- 65% find a positive experience with a brand to be more influential than great advertising
- 42% would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience
- 32% of customers say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience
Perhaps most compelling is that customers that give companies a high CX score spend 140% more and remain loyal for up to six years.
Customers demand a no-fuss, seamless experience that’s optimised for their needs, regardless of where they are in their buying journey.
Bringing modern Customer Experiences to the customer journey
The entire customer journey—from the moment a customer becomes aware of a need to every decision they make after that—is full of opportunities to deliver exceptional CX. This translates into loyalty that a business simply can’t buy.
Stage 1: Awareness
The awareness phase is when a potential customer first becomes aware they want something or have a problem to solve. In this phase, they’re looking for information, so that’s what a business needs to deliver.
The best way to elevate CX in this phase is by providing a seamless experience that allows prospects to get the information they want. This information needs to be when they want it, and in relevant context. This demands an omnichannel strategy that meets prospective customers on their terms.
A headless content management system (CMS)—the latest development in a long and rich history of content management—separates content creation from how it’s designed, stored, optimised, and displayed. This means content can be quickly found, re-optimised, and re-published to cater to the right audience, on the right channel, at the right time.
Stage 2: Consideration
The consideration phase is where a prospective customer assesses how interested they are in the experience they’re receiving from a given brand. This is where their preferences come into play, and it’s where customers research to evaluate if there’s a better alternative. Competing on this playing field is all about personalisation — tailoring an experience based on information that has been collected about an individual.
Personalisation works. According to KPMG, personalisation drives loyalty in 18 out of 20 markets. Research by McKinsey shows that leaders in personalisation have increased revenue by up to 15% and improved the efficiency of their marketing spend by up to 30%. A study by Accenture found that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognise, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations.
Using tools like augmented analytics, which uses real-time data from the web and social media, a business can know its audience better and faster. That enables personalised content that tips their decision-making in favour of that business. Together with predictive analytics, which automate the task of assessing customer behaviour to determine what they’re likely to do or want next, businesses can deliver the entire personalised experience that leads increasingly expect.
Stage 3: Decision-Making
In the decision-making phase, consumers are working out those last few questions before deciding between their top options. For digital managers, the goal is to build a deep relationship and provide value that would be hard for the consumer to leave behind. How can companies do this in an age where there are so many leads to keep up with across so many channels? They can integrate modern customer relationship and customer data platforms that are purpose-built to help win in the decision showdown.
A customer relationship management (CRM) platform like HubSpot CRM, Sendesk, or Intercom helps a business keep track of all the interactions a consumer has had across your business. A customer data platform (CDP) like Evergage or Exponea layers consumer data on top of this relationship information to create a complete, personalised profile of the lead at hand.
Stage 4: Retention
The customer journey doesn’t end once a product is shipped or a service is delivered. After a transaction has been completed, CX is as important as ever. Good experience leads to retention, which is the most significant revenue driver for businesses. After all, the success rate of selling to a new customer is only 5-20% while the success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70% by comparison.
While there’s no doubt that the retention stage is vital to the customer journey. The question is how can a single team keep up with providing a great customer experience across various channels at all times of the day to an ever-growing audience base? It is against this backdrop that self-service technologies have grown.
Artificial intelligence-powered chatbots are the always-on and always-informed customer service “agents” that can document requests, answer customer questions. They even provide the resources consumers need to help themselves around the clock. As long as those chatbots are combined with business processes that ensure no important complaints, requests, or conversations fall through the cracks. Automation can help a business provide a customer experience that keeps them coming back for more.
These stages demonstrate that great CX is a long-term goal. It demands a modern marketing technology stack powered by a headless content management system to streamline content delivery. Break down information silos, and integrate various MarTech tools to provide a seamless thread of excellence and ease throughout the customer journey and beyond.
To learn more about customer experience and personalisation, check out our Project CUE that saw omnichannel personalisation happen in just 12 weeks.
Contentstack – the pioneer in API-first, headless CMS technology – accelerates and simplifies content management across today’s and tomorrow’s digital channels, including web, mobile and IoT. From desktops to smart phones, from kiosks to smart watches, from billboards to jumbotrons, from dashboards to VR headsets – content is delivered with the push of a button and optimised for every screen, device and channel.